Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Rhett's Run was tough!
I don't care how fit I think I am. Rhett's run (marathon class) always makes me feel sluggish and unfit. At least the last three laps of the six lap race made me feel that way. I should have gotten 7 laps, and pulled back enough to keep from going another one during lap 5 while I was literally praying for a mechanical, strategically, I was a hurtin rooster.
We started fast, not unlike any other race. The adrenalin gets going and all of the 25 or 27 racers went off hard and funneled in to the snotty mud (it rained just before the start) simply to get bogged down with a series of stops and starts, intervals, slinky like waves of thrust on tight single track. You really had to watch yourself and I knew that it wouldn't be long before I would see some pretty significant crashes. The first being Chad Brixey, an esteemed rider whom I have mixed it up with several times in the past. He is a seasoned rider and fast. Eric was in there with us, about 10 of us working the kinks out carefully during the "I got more game than you" hour that takes place every race. We had made it though the first lap and started the decent from the chat on the second when Chad's rear wheel washed out in the grass at a cool 20 mph decent. It was superhuman, his catch, sprawling safely, sliding a good 20-30 feet un-injured with dignity intact. I ran through the deep grass to avoid running him over, as did a couple others. Fun stuff. I was hoping he would get up and work his way forward but I never saw him again until later, standing with D-wayne with a torn sidewall. There were others who met with similar circumstances. Not sure who else bailed but there were plenty.
I was trying to stay on pace with the Grandmaster Geezer and Eric, who was behind me for the first three laps. We all train together and they typically stay ahead towards the end. I knew that Eric would hold back while the conditions were muddy. It dried out and soon he made his move and dropped me like a teenage stepsister. He would have had it anyway but I tried to keep him back there as long as I could to keep him charging hard. I will catch his fitness level in the next few weeks, as I usually do. My 5th lap was more like a crawl and filled with self doubt and pain. This plus on the fourth lap when the cat one and two's were unleashed on the trail. It was pretty tough standing and waiting for them to pass, losing a lot of rhythm while those with fresh legs and less laps to finish, took the right of way from the marathon class. I simply got caught in the wrong place on the course when they started the race. The horsepower displayed at the start of an expert race when you have been grinding for a couple hours is belittling.
It didn't matter it was a good race and I am pretty sure I was in the top 10 or just over. There were tons of DNF's, this is not an option for me and I was happy I finished this tough venue again.